Panpsychism - a philosophy with a future

by slimboyfat 140 Replies latest social current

  • Ruby456

    on two occasions you decided I was using patronising language towards you and you sent me a pm to which I could not reply (my replies are inactivated or not working properly) - in fact I was and am not intending to be patronising at all but grant that this may be how you feel when I do not agree with you or when I suggest that asking for observable evidence is making a complex problem too simplistic and that some questions and debates need to remain open as social policy (in religion, in politics and in economics) is made by means of interpretations and speculations on whatever paradigm is in use at a time in history. And this is the reason why there is a need to continue discussing speculations and interpretations.

    From my pov I always try to bring something meaningful to the table and to the dialogue and it is never my objective to be patronizing though I do write in a way that indicates that I desire to be treated as an equal.

    edit: I think it is valid to point out when we are being GB like as I think in an unconscious state this may be our resting way of thinking. When we become conscious we stand back from things, we reason in our minds and think things through before we act. We have at least three systems in our bodies that mindlessly churn on without thought and is any wonder that there are systems in the world that seem to do the same or that seem to want to implement this way of living?

  • Simon

    I've change my mind. I do believe there are people with the intelligence of a rock.

  • Finkelstein

    Wait a second these rocks were just found deep in the Amazon rain forest, no one can understand the language they speak but this changes everything.

  • sparky1

    I don't know which theory I like better: Phlogiston or Panpsychism.

  • jp1692

    You're funny Sparky!

    The phlogistion theory is of course now completely discredited, mostly due to the work of Antoine Lavosier, the father of modern chemistry, in the late 1700s.

    It's a very interesting example of how science works. Even as more and more evidence was gathered to disprove the phlogiston theory, many people stubbornly continued to hang on to it rather than admit they had a wrong belief (sound familiar?).

    Here is a brief excerpt from a WP article on the subject:

    Phlogiston Theory - Challenge and demise: Phlogiston remained the dominant theory until the 1780s when Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier showed that combustion requires a gas that has mass (oxygen) and could be measured by means of weighing closed vessels. ...

    Experienced chemists who supported Stahl's phlogiston theory attempted to respond to the challenges suggested by Lavoisier and the newer chemists. In doing so, phlogiston theory became more complicated and assumed too much, contributing to the overall demise of the theory. Many people tried to remodel their theories on phlogiston in order to have the theory work with what Lavoisier was doing in his experiments. Pierre Macquer reworded his theory many times, and even though he is said to have thought the theory of phlogiston was doomed, he stood by phlogiston and tried to make the theory work. [Emphasis added]

  • Ruby456


    Panpsychism is the idea that experience is a property of all matter, and that human consciousness is different in degree rather than kind from the rest of the universe.

    Philosophers such as Galen Stawson and Thomas Nagel endorse varieties of panpsychism. Scientists are also beginning to support the idea, such as the neuroscientist Stefan Koch, who gives his reasons in this video.

    so going back to your op slimboyfat I think it may indeed be possible to hold to a variety of panpsychism if we come at it from self organising complexity and emergence.

    great course here that looks at emergence and complexity and that can enable how one can think one's way through such ideas. love of knowledge throws fear outside to misquote a bible phrase

  • Ruby456

    slim in coming back to this thread i have to say that it certainly has led to a breakthrough for me particularly as you mention varieties of panpsychism - I think I would support the variety that hinges on deterministic pathways that are followed in self organisation with emergent outcomes happening spontaneously.

    what I mean is that this sort of deterministic outcome would account for such incidents as deja vu, the sort of groundhog day we can experience from time to time. Here consciousness and awareness would be products of self organisation but would be unexpected and spontaneous results. If one subscribes to panpsychism then it needn't mean that extrasensory perception is true in its strongest sense but it would mean that all life shares patterns of self organising complexity and it is perhaps these that give us a sense of familiarity and at homeness on our planet!

  • slimboyfat

    I've certainly come to agree with whoever made the comment that the world is "not only stranger than we suppose, it's stranger than we can suppose". So that, for me, leaves open the possibility of things like panpsychism. I also have a commitment to the idea that nothing should be ruled out. This on both empirical and ethical grounds. The fact is that knowledge is not simply linear and accretive. There are too many examples of unexpected twists and reversals for that. Plus the practice of ruling out solutions is essentially authoritarian and ethically suspect.

    Sometimes this can be misconstrued as simply saying: "who knows, maybe evolution is wrong and creationism is right, or maybe the earth is flat after all". But it's actually much more radical than that. It's more like saying: "maybe in time we will discover that the Earth and the history of life are so completely different than how we currently conceptualise them that the vocabulary of description will need to be utterly revised in ways we cannot currently imagine". This doesn't envisage a regression into creationism or flat earth perspectives, but leaves open the possibility for new and unexpected perspectives.

    I would place the growing interest in panpsychism in the category of unexpected twists in intellectual thought worthy of contemplation. Because fundamentally the roots of experience in an (apparently) material world are deeply mysterious. Reductive materialism doesn't appear to offer very compelling answers, and dualism has its problems, so it's worth considering alternatives.

  • cofty
    the roots of experience in an (apparently) material world are deeply mysterious

    The honest response is not to insert any old unprovable and untestable woo-woo to fill the gap: it is simply admit "we don't know yet".

  • slimboyfat

    We don't know and may never know for sure. Radical emergence is an explanation that results from a commitment to reductive materialism. Panpsychism is an alternative way of understanding how consciousness relates to the material world that rejects both dualism and reductive materialism. The arguments on either side don't appear to relate to something called "woo". As far as I can see this word "woo" is a rhetorical way of dismissing something you disagree without going to the bother of explaining why.

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